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Oaktree Financial Advisors Blog

How to Save Money and Time on Stuff You Buy and Never Leave Your House

Written by Ed Snyder on .

woman on computer blog

Don't you love going to the grocery store and loading up your cart with the toilet paper, paper towels, diapers and dog food? By the time you've got these in the cart, there's no room for the groceries. Or how many times has this happened? You get an email from home that you're out of dog food and can you please pick some up on the way home. You likely just want to get home and don't want to stop anywhere.

Many times in today's society we pay more for convenience. It comes down to a trade-off between your time and your money. What if I told you that you could save time and money. You don't have to make the trade-off. You can have both! You could be done with hauling a 30 pound bag of dog food out of the store with your other 12 bags of groceries.

How to Reduce Income Taxes on a Severance Package

Written by Ed Snyder on .

eli lilly corporate center blog

Business and industries are constantly under pressure from many different directions – shareholders, government agencies, consumers and competitors. In reaction to these pressures and in preparation for the future continued success of the business, many times companies lay people off. Among those companies recently is Eli Lilly. Unfortunately, these are the pressures of business, especially in a highly-competitive and rapidly changing industry like pharmaceuticals.

A severance package is offered to help bridge the gap between employment or into retirement. The severance benefit offered to employees has generally been from 3 months to 18 month's compensation based on the employee's years of service and it's paid out in a lump sum. That means you get one check with the entire amount. The lump sum is subject to ordinary income tax. With a large amount of money like this received in one year, especially if combined with other income earned during the year, you can easily find yourself in a higher tax bracket as a result of the severance payment. Even though income tax is withheld from your severance check, it may not be enough to cover the full tax liability on the lump sum.

Dow 20,000. Now What?

Written by Ed Snyder on .

dow 1987 - 2017 

The Dow hit 20,000 yesterday. We've been waiting weeks for this. It got oh so close three weeks ago on January 6th and again on January 11th.  But then it retreated more than 220 points in the next eight days closing at 19,732 on January 19th, leaving one to wonder if maybe it would be awhile yet before the market hit this milestone we'd been so close to. And just as we may have been thinking that, the market marched up 336 points in 4 short business days to breach that highly anticipated number – 20,000.

The Dow's moves in January are a microcosm of how it's moved over the last 40 years. In 1987 the Dow peaked at 2722 (an all-time high at that time) on August 25th. On October 19th, known as "Black Monday", the Dow dropped over 500 points from 2246 to 1738. It took two more years, until August of 1989 for the Dow to get back to 2722. The Dow roared through the 1990s opening at 2810 and ended 1999 at 11,497. As exciting as the 90s was for stocks, the 2000s was anything but, with the Dow opening at 11,497 on January 3, 2000 and closing at 10,428 at the end of 2009. In October 2008 the Dow dropped from 10,831 on the 1st to 8,451 by the 10th and continued downward to 6,547 on March 9, 2009. That was the bottom and since then the market has been ascending to its current level of 20,068.

So here we are. Now what? Some will say that the market is overvalued and we're due or overdue for a huge correction. Others will say that we can go marching upward from here. The reality is that no one knows for sure. I'll be the first to tell you that I don't have any idea. But the good news is that we don't need to know.

Most people can probably admit to themselves that they don't know where the market will go from here. Where a lot of people have a problem is accepting that fact. They watch the investment shows on TV and hear a guy on the radio or see an article online and try to get some "insight" into where the market's headed next.

I'm okay not knowing where the market may go in the short term. I'm not investing for the short term. I'm confident of where the market is going over the long term – and that's what I'm investing for. If you can get okay with the fact that you don't need to try to figure out the market's short term moves, you will be one step closer to investment success – and you will sleep better at night.

Since 1987 the Dow has been all over the place – way up in the 90s, flat for a decade from 2000–2009, way down in 2008-2009, and back up again from 2009 until now. But long-term, big picture, it's increased ten-fold. You didn't have to know any of those market moves were going to happen. All you had to do was continue investing. The market was going to go up ten-fold with or without you. So don't sweat the short-term, don't worry about where the market's going from here. It's time in the market that matters, not timing the market.

15 Things to do When You Lose Your Job

on .

cellphone pen notebook 

Whatever employers like to call it, being laid off, downsized, restructured or right-sized, the result is the same – you're out of a job. And regardless of why, being laid off from a job can be a traumatic, stressful experience, one that can cause you to lose sight of your own self-worth, your value as a worker and provider for your family, and even your career direction and purpose. The bad news is that it will probably happen to most of us during our careers, including you. The good news is that with a little preparation and smart thinking you can lessen its blow and more easily make the transition to the next chapter in your work life.

Here are few tips to help you handle a lay off:

1. DON'T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. Being laid off is not about you or your contribution to your company. It's about your company's need to reduce expenses. It's not about your failure; it's about your company's failure to raise enough money to support all of its workers. Often, very talented people are laid off.

How Terrible a Year It Was Going to Be: An Investing Lesson From the 2016 Stock Market

Written by Ed Snyder on .

stock market chart

Google "January 2016 stock market" and you'll find articles using words like jitters, fears, crash, turbulence, plunge, horrible, worst. It's been 11 months and a lot has happened since then so you may not remember that the stock market had a rough January this year. One article stated "The Stock Market Posted the Worst January since 2009".

So just how awful was it? The S&P 500 finished January down 4.96%. The S&P 500 is an index of 500 large stocks commonly referenced to represent the stock market. There are many other types of stocks too though that are not represented by the S&P 500. That's a whole different article. Let's run through a few to see how they did in January. Small growth stocks, (Russell 2000 Growth Index) were down a whopping 10.83% in January.  Small cap value (Russell 2000 Value) was down 6.72%, International stocks (MSCI EAFE NR USD Index) returned -7.23% for January, real estate stocks (DJ US Select REIT Index) were down 3.95% to start the year and bonds (BBg Barclay US Agg Bond Index) ended January up 1.38%. Bonds were the best performer in January, outperforming the eight stock asset classes we use.